Established in 1968 by two brothers, Bennett + Bennett have been providing advanced surveying, town planning and spatial solutions for over 50 years. With 500 projects a year, Bennett + Bennett accumulates masses of emails, documents and surveying data and documents. Making this information efficiently accessible to all appropriate staff, and ensuring exemplary data integrity standards, proved a challenge for Bennett + Bennett. The surveying firm needed a common data environment.
Darren Chalmers (Director & Business Operations Manager, Bennett + Bennett) says: “We needed a way to efficiently manage all the emails, documents and records associated with over five hundred projects a year.”
To streamline their operations, Bennett + Bennett chose to adopt 12d Synergy as the organisation’s common data environment. 12d Synergy was chosen for two main reasons. Firstly, it was the only software to fully integrate with 12d Model which is the main software package used by their surveyors. Secondly, with its common data environment it was a simple yet powerful tool for managing all their emails, documents, reports, and other files.
For more information on 12d Model data management with 12d Synergy, click here.
12d Synergy delivered faster data transfers, quality assurance, secure remote access, and overall improved efficiency.
Put into Effect
12d Synergy Implementation & Onboarding
For implementation, Bennett + Bennett began to pilot 12d Synergy with a few minor projects for six months and limited users. The company then rolled out the software into smaller offices which allowed the folder structure, naming rules, attributes, and notification templates to be further developed and polished. Darren Chalmers explains: “You need a clear understanding of the data you have, the data you receive, and the data you generate.” Following this, super users were nominated and trained to further help provide a smooth transition to 12d Synergy for the entire company. With a line drawn in the sand, licenses were purchased for all staff. From this point, the team had to start managing all existing and new projects exclusively with 12d Synergy.
“We tried to limit the data transfer with a lot of our data. For example, we pulled in the 12d Model projects, along with the last three months’ worth of emails and some other important documents, and then we’d start fresh. From an IT guy’s perspective, implementation was very easy.”
– Darren Chalmers
The Challenges Bennett + Bennett faced:
- Maintaining a secure and central location for document management
- Offering a reliable file versioning and audit trail for quality assurance
- Managing large datasets across five hundred projects from all locations
- Optimising data transfer times
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A Single Source of Truth
As Bennett + Bennett continues to expand in staff numbers, the team needed a system which allowed everyone accessibility regardless of their location.
12d Synergy provided a centralised and controlled common data environment where all staff could access and collaborate on their files – whether in a different office, in the field, or working remotely. With a convenient and secure location, files are prevented from being lost or in ‘silos’, such as located on local machines, network drives or other file-sharing tools. There is a single source of truth. This also simplifies backup and archiving processes.
“I can’t stress enough how valuable data security is as a critical foundation of our IMS.”
– Darren Chalmers
Robust File Versioning
As previously mentioned, Bennett + Bennett work on around 500 projects a year, so you can imagine it’s huge amounts of data coming into the business every day. Due to this, the company needed a common data environment that could manage all emails and records while also ensuring there were no duplicated files.
12d Synergy allowed for complete control over a robust file versioning where the team can keep track of all data updates, revisions, and changes. This allowed Bennett + Bennett to know exactly who was working on what file, what changes they are making and when they made those exact changes. Once a person ‘checks-out’ a file, no one else has access to it and no other person can make changes. File versioning also allows for rollback where a previous version of a file can be recovered if needed by a client or a member of the team. Also, thanks to having a complete audit trail, Bennett + Bennett have been able to strengthen its quality system – a big win for the company!
“This is a critical aspect of 12d Synergy, the ability for every change to be recorded and to easily revert to an earlier version. We have a clear time-stamped record of the actions on our database and also know exactly who changed what.”
– Darren Chalmers
Project Workflow with Customisable Tasks
Each project received by Bennett + Bennett hold similar data attributes before any design decision has been made. This includes basic details about the job and any type of brief that is related to the project. With the high number of projects for the business, it was extremely beneficial for the company to automate some aspects of the process before commencement. This cuts down time doing simple administration tasks and optimises the project workflow.
12d Synergy allows for the company to create customisable tasks for their jobs. Bennett + Bennett uses the ‘Tasks’ feature from 12d Synergy to control its IMS and QA workflows. All task-related documents, lists and job briefs can be added to tasks, with subtasks automatically allocated to people on the team. Actions are then automatically triggered on completion. Rather than using valuable resources on simple admin, this time can be spent on the actual project instead.
“It’s a huge time-saver, theoretically we could do a job without anyone talking to anyone.”
– Darren Chalmers
Fast Data Transfers
With large amounts of data comes slow and often long data transfer times. Generally, with downloading and uploading data from a server that’s many gigabytes in size it can take hours of waiting. Your overall work efficiency can become unproductive, and resources are wasted. Now consider the size of Bennett + Bennett and the multiple offices they occupy, before 12d Synergy their servers were extremely congested.
“12d Synergy caches files to the local drive, rather than working from the server. When files are ready to be reuploaded onto the server at the end of the day, only the changes which have been made are uploaded. All these unique attributes allow for quicker data transfer times and delivery speeds. Now, everything runs much faster and smoother saving time for everyone in the company.”
– Darren Chalmers
For more information on improving data transfer, click here.
We’ve greatly improved our productivity and workflow, thanks to 12d Synergy. Even using 12d Synergy with limited customisation is still a far better solution for managing data than with Windows folders and Microsoft Outlook.
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